The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 12, 2012

Mike Pound: What’s in a dog’s brain? Don’t ask

Before too long we will all know the answer to a question that has been vexing us for generations. It’s a question that people have debated since ... well, since the invention of indoor plumbing. That question is: If it’s such a big deal to you then why don’t you put the toilet seat down yourself?

Ha, I joke. That’s actually the last question married male people ask before getting served with divorce papers.

No, the question that I’m referring to is: Why do dogs drink out of the toilet?

For many years, I have suspected that dogs drink out of the toilet because:

No. 1: They are thirsty.

No. B: They can.

But according to an article I read on the “Time” magazine website, I soon may find out exactly why dogs drink out of the toilet. According to the article, some scientists with way too much time on their hands are working on ways to unlock the minds of dogs. I love dogs, but it seems to me that if someone is going to unlock a dog’s mind, they wouldn’t need a very big key.

I don’t know about your dog, but from what I can tell from watching our German shepherd Shilo, if you unlocked her mind you would find rabbits, squirrels, a yellow plastic ball and a variety of foods. The rest of her mind would be occupied by a series of totally random thoughts such as “mailman, doorbell, guy who gives me shots, and scratching.”

Maybe Shilo isn’t as smart as other dogs. According to the story, researchers have already determined that dogs can learn about 165 human words, and that some “super dogs” can have a vocabulary of 250 words. Joe Biden’s dog, researchers said, even knows the meaning of the word “malarkey.”

According to the story, a group of German researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (My high school played them for homecoming) reported that a border collie named Rico could learn the name of an object and then remember that object four weeks later. Rico is currently a member of Congress and the chairdog of the “Learning and remembering things subcommittee.”

Border collies, by the way, top a list compiled by a group of dog obedience judges of the most intelligent breeds. Poodles were second on the list followed by German shepherds, golden retrievers, Dobermans, Shetland sheepdogs, Labrador retrievers and reality TV stars.

Earlier this year, according to the story, scientists trained dogs to lay perfectly still in an MRI machine so they could get a detailed look at their brains.

When I read that, the first thought that ran through MY brain was, “There is no way they trained dogs to lay still in an MRI machine.” The second thought that ran through my brain was that the scientists’ parents must be thinking, “I paid for four years of college and two years of graduate school and this is what I get?”

The purpose of the experiment was to, and I quote, “Seriously tick off Karl, the guy who has to clean the MRI machine.”

Ha, I joke. The story said the purpose of the experiment was to determine which brain circuits would respond when a dog’s owner made a gesture offering food. The scan showed that when offered a treat, the part of a dog’s brain associated with the anticipation of reward was activated. When the findings were announced, the scientists looked at each other and said, “Well, that was a waste of time” and went out for a drink.

From the toilet.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: It’s not Mayberry, but Carthage is close

    When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Mayberry. In a way, I suppose I still want to live in Mayberry, the fictional town featured in the classic Andy Griffith show of the 1960s.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin couple indicted in child porn case

    A federal grand jury indicted a Joplin couple Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a preceding indictment of the husband for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 2014

  • Missouri attorney general defends his support of Amendment 1

    With a large cornfield behind him and campaign signs all around, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appeared Wednesday at the David Collard farm to tout Amendment 1, an Aug. 5 ballot measure that would make the “right to farm” part of the state constitution.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter